A travel guide of sorts

 Posted by on September 13, 2015  Away Travel  1 Response »
Sep 132015

Consider this your formal invitation to come to Portland for the NWSL Championship final.

Portland is a pretty simple city for travelers. If you’re flying in just for a few days for the game, you don’t even need to rent a car. Providence Park (1844 SW Morrison) is conveniently located just a few blocks from the center of the city and is easily accessible by public transportation. Both the MAX light rail red and blue lines stop literally across the street and many bus lines have stops within a couple hundred yards of the gates. You can find a public transportation trip planner at Trimet.org.  Trimet also offers a pretty handy app that lets you purchase your fare using a smart phone. A full day pass is $5 and will get you anywhere you need to go.

If you’re planning on driving to the stadium on game day, please note: there’s no parking lot. Parking is at a premium in the area with very few pay lots close by. Leave your car at the hotel/Air BnB or whatever and hop on a bus or train, or look for a Smart Park Garage in downtown. If you park after 5 p.m., it, too, is only $5 and several SP garages are close to the light rail lines.

There are lots of good hotels in the downtown core area, though they cater primarily to business travelers and aren’t cheap.

Random screen capture of a Google map. Thanks, Google!

Random screen capture of a Google map. Thanks, Google!

The Park Lane Suites and Hotel Deluxe are within lazy-people-walking-distance from ProPark, the big beige square on the left. This screen capture shows rates pulled from Google as of 9/13/15. They will likely change a dozen times over the next couple weeks. When searching for a hotel, you might also consider the Lloyd Center/Convention Center area. Most have on-site parking and are close to MAX light rail stops. Airport hotels may have lower rates as well, but be aware that rush hour traffic will be between you and the stadium on game day. Forgo the rental car and put that money into the higher-priced downtown hotel.

However, if you’re in town for the weekend, maybe pick up a car to get out of town and see some of the great Pacific Northwest. Mt. Hood and historic Timberline Lodge are roughly an hour’s drive to the east; Seaside, Canon Beach, and Astoria (where The Goonies was filmed*) are a bit more than an hour west.

Or, just stay in town. Portland is home to a significant food cart culture, dozens of breweries, tons of museums and galleries, and a bazillion things to do. Some things to check out:

Portland is home to what might be the only bar in the world dedicated to women’s soccer.

Take a tour of the downtown area and get to know the area with Portland Walking Tours.

We’ve got art!

You like werewolves? We’ve got those, too.

And, in case we hadn’t mentioned it before, we’re the City of Roses.

But you’re here for the soccer, aren’t you? Stick around and check out the University of Portland women’s team October 3 at Merlo Field. For many of us, women’s soccer begins with memories of the legendary Clive Charles. His legacy cannot be discounted.


Okay, so there’s your starting point for your NWSL Championship trip to Portland. We’ll update as we get closer and are looking forward to meeting all of you. Look for a Game Day Info post as we get closer to October 1st.
*When talking about travel to Oregon, it’s required that we mention where The Goonies was filmed.

Let’s Dance.

 Posted by on September 8, 2015  Tifo  1 Response »
Sep 082015

I’ve been watching from a safe distance for months as the tifo crew went through the planning and testing and adjusting process for the end-of-season display. They are an intrepid group, a group that works harder than most will ever know.

Any late interest in Plan F: Rent a big disco ball and have it light up the rafters?

Ideas were proposed, discussed, changed, scrapped, reborn. There was an elaborate contraption made of pvc and connectors, a weather balloon, strings of LED lights that went unused.

Learned an unhappy lesson this afternoon – trim your fingernails before inflating a weather balloon.

Trial and error, opportunities for learning and laughing and growing and groaning. Brilliant 2 a.m. ideas faded in the light of morning and were replaced by even more brilliant ideas. People floated in and out of the discussion and then, at long last, fabric was laid out and paint brushes taken up and a beautiful thing happened.

Let's Dance: the 2015 end of season display. Photo courtesy of Jeff Wong and ProstAmerika.

Let’s Dance: the 2015 end of season display. Photo courtesy of Jeff Wong and ProstAmerika.

Simple and elegant, it said so many things. By the time it was raised, the Thorns were already outside of the playoff picture but, despite a disappointing season, we still saw them as the Belles of the Ball.

They are the reason we do what we do. They are why we show up en masse. They are the catalyst for the magic that happens in the sometimes indecipherable minds of the tifo crew.

Is helium actually a need?

I look at the work that’s created by this group of folks and I know just how lucky we are to have them. Working with materials that have been salvaged from previous displays and often donating materials they’ve gathered, they create short-lived works of art for the express purpose of delivering a message to the players on the field and, perhaps to a greater extent, the world.

We support you, our beloved Thorns. We know this season did not go according to plan, but we’re still here. Let’s dance.


Aug 282015

Okay. This is it. Last home match of the season.

The season hasn’t gone the way we’d have planned it, but here we are anyway. We’ve got one more chance to show our Thorns that we support them regardless of the result.

It’s a big day. Be on time. Don’t traipse in five minutes to kick-off. Bring your A-game. Also, maybe bring some rain gear.

We’ve got two Thorns retiring at the end of this season: Rachel Van Hollebeke and Nadine Angerer. We know the team plans to honor both pre-match, but why not don a jaunty hat for Nadine and maybe some scrubs for Rachel, who’s off to medical school any minute now? They’ve both been stalwart for both the Thorns and for their national teams and they will be greatly missed in the soccering world.

BUY YOUR CAPO A PINT. Actually, don’t. But do kick in a few bucks (those few bucks you would have spent on that pint) to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls. We’ll be passing buckets around for cash donations, but you can also go here and donate online. Summer session tuition this year was $400 per camper. We’d love to be able to sponsor one camper for each of our capos and drum corps members next summer.

RIVETERS PLAYER OF THE YEAR. We’ve got the trophy and we’ll be presenting it to our winner at the close of the match. We know you guys stick around anyway, but encourage your neighbors to do the same. All our players deserve recognition, but the winner has gone above and beyond this year.

As always, we’ll be at Fanladen pre-match with t-shirts, scarves and assorted whatnot, as well as 107ist membership services and ticket exchange. If you’ve got a spare ticket you won’t be using, you can donate it to the tifo fund by transferring it to ticketdonation@rosecityriveters.org. We’ve got a pretty fantastic tifo crew and we want to make sure their efforts are well-funded as we look toward the planning of the 2016 season.

Aug 262015

HUGE DISCLAIMER: I posted a version of this last night on my personal blog. It’s my opinion, not the opinion of the Riveters as an organization (is there ever an opinion that covers all of us?).

The 2015 NWSL Championship will be held in our city, Soccer City, USA, and, in all likelihood, it will feature two teams not from Portland.

So, what happens here? I know there are some loyal Thorns fans who won’t be there if their team isn’t there to support. That’s fine. There are some who will be up on the Bluff, taking in the University of Portland match at Merlo. Nothing wrong with that, either.

I’ll be at Providence Park. I think it’s important to support a league still in its infancy, so I’ll buy a ticket and show up. I won’t be waving a flag and, unless someone comes up with something strikingly clever, I’ll probably stop singing after the anthem. I will cheer players who do well and I will congratulate the winning team.

People are discussing what role, if any, the Riveters should play. Should we take this as an opportunity to express our displeasure with the league, our coach, our underperforming players, with…what, exactly? Do we use it to elevate the other supporters groups in the league? Or maybe just those whose teams are still playing October 1st? There’s no true consensus.

A couple of us talked a day or two ago about taking up residence in section 223 for the Championship game. Visitors in our own home.

But meh. Let’s go to the South Deck. It’s nice to have a change of scenery once in a while.